Since you’ve been gone, my baby turned 18.
18! How is that possible?
I have come to terms with my three older children becoming adults. But I have a problem with my youngest no longer being a ‘child’. Oh yes, I know it’s inevitable. And of course, on one level I can celebrate the milestone, and am definitely grateful to have had the pleasure of being her mother for another year. But I’m not ready. I’ll never be ready.
My father used to say that it didn’t matter how old I got to be, I would always be his baby. He’s not here anymore – so I am no one’s baby. Adulthood gobbled me up years ago. It has also spat me out on more than one inelegant occasion, and I’m sure it will again. But I don’t have a problem with getting older, per se. More that I lament the lost opportunity of youth.
TJ turning 18 has made me wonder whether I would want to go back and be young again. To turn back time and relive my youth. And if I did, what would I do differently?
Of course, there are things I would not change. I would not be without my four wonderful children, for example. And I have had many amazing experiences that I would feel much the less for not having embraced.
But I think my overwhelming answer is yes. Yes, I would go back. Yes I would change some things. Well. Lots of things. I would make sure to appreciate having it all ahead of me. To make a positive mark on the blank page. To not be afraid to go for what I want. To be in the right place at the right time. To not lose courage and definitely not to settle. And to win. I’d be a winner. I’ve spent too long, and had too much heartbreak because of being a loser.
What about you? Would you turn back time? Tell me – what would you do differently?
It’s not just that you’re gone
So completely withdrawn
Turned off and moved on
It’s not just that it’s done
That its course has been run
And my presence you shun
It’s not just that this hole
Almost swallows me whole
Pain consuming my soul
It’s not just that I’ve died
And want only to hide
In the tears I have cried
All these things and much more
Rendered lost and unsure
I battle to endure
She thought that it was finished,
She thought it was complete,
But the piece that lay within her reach,
That was brand new,
Of all she had imagined true,
Was telling her of something new
She was surprised to find it,
She was amazed it fit,
But the puzzle changed before her eyes,
It altered all,
Those things she had imagined true,
And told her there was something new.
She knew she could not keep it,
She knew it was not hers,
But the absent piece she hadn’t missed,
Until he came,
A glimpse of something pure and true,
And left her ever changed and new.
Since you’ve been gone, there have been some hard lessons to learn.
And one thing I have realised, is that the old adage about time healing wounds is a complete crock of crap. The more time that passes, the more that it hurts. Maybe it’s just me? I’ve always been out of step with the rest of society. So perhaps I’m the exception who proves the rule? Perhaps I live in some kind of parallel universe where the mirror image is true? Whatever. All I know is that each day gets harder, not easier.
There are so many things I want to tell you. So many things left to say. So many adventures left to share. Except no. Not any more. I’ve been cut adrift and the waters are growing increasingly choppy. It’s hard, lonely and scary out here.
Ironically, if I could talk to you, I know you would understand exactly what I am saying. Because you get me. Like no one else ever did. And no one else ever will.
Are you hurting too? It’s not that I want you to hurt – far from it. But I can’t bear that it’s only me who is in such great pain. Are you unhappy too? It’s not that I want you to be miserable – not at all. But it tortures me that this misery is all one sided. And I will never know those answers, will I. Which is part of what keeps me paralysed in this despair.
To be honest, I’m struggling to suck it up. And I haven’t got to the keep moving forward part. I don’t actually know how to do it. But I know I have to try.
I guess, as Merle Haggard sang:
‘I’ve got to keep goin’
Traveling down this lonesome road
And I’ll be rollin’ with the flow
Goin’ where the lonely go.’
It’s all gone now
There’s nothing left
My heart is cold
My soul bereft
I cannot see
A passage though
The turmoil left
Behind by you
Time does not heal
It never will
The fractured hole
Keeps growing still
The pain inside
Is here to stay
From this day til
My dying day
Since you’ve been gone, today has been one of the hardest so far.
Work delivered one of those days when everything went wrong. The database fell over, people were not where they should have been, no one seemed to have the wit to understand how to do their job, and I was left trying to stick all the renegade parts together and make some sense of it all. I didn’t enjoy it.
As you knew, there are lots of days like today. But today won the trophy for being the worst of the worst. It made me want to walk out and not go back. But did I do that? No. I stuck that ‘fake it til you make it’ smile on my face and just got on with it.
I remember how we always took comfort in not having to pretend with each other. No matter how we had to appear for the sake of others, we could tell it like it is and know that we would not be judged. There would always be support and that ‘I’ve got your back’ scenario that got us both through the crappiest times.
And now. I have no one to tell.
Today. In the middle of the busiest day, surrounded by people – I was lonely.
I can’t start pretending to you now. Even though you’re not here anymore. I can’t start pretending to you now. Even though you’re not there to listen. I can’t start pretending to you now. Even though the silence that returns to me is as painful as it is deafening. I can’t start pretending to you now.